A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 1:26-38)
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be made impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Good News Reflection: “God Is with You”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I know that you are with me and very much want me to fulfill your plan in my life. Help me carry out your most holy will with love.
Petition: Lord, give me the grace to do your holy will.
1. God Wants Our Happiness.The angel Gabriel finds Mary doing nothing extraordinary but rather ordinary tasks like washing clothes, sweeping, getting water, doing the same daily prayer as every devout Jew. But in doing the ordinary she is doing what is pleasing to God. Her example should be our guide. Work can be an ordinary means of holiness. Man, as Pope John Paul II said, “not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes ‘more a human being’” (Laborem Exercens, no. 9). We please God when we do our duties, fulfill our responsibilities, work to meet our basic needs. While we may not be doing something extraordinary at every moment, we still praise and glorify God when we undertake the ordinary.
2. “Do Not Be Afraid.”Mary “was greatly troubled and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” When God presents us with his plan, we too might be afraid. We may not fully understand what he has in mind. It can seem that his plan is too great for us. But when God wants something for us, he shows us that it is not beyond our reach. As with Mary at the Incarnation, God will make it happen and will provide all the grace necessary for its completion.
3. “May It Be Done to Me According to Your Word.”When Gabriel clarifies Mary’s mission and illustrates that with God all things are possible, Mary makes an act of faith. Her act of faith is what the Second Vatican Council terms the “obedience of faith.” “ ‘The obedience of faith’ ‘is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals,’ and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him” (Dei Verbum, 5). God supplied Mary with his grace and did not abandon her; nor will he abandon us. When we do what God wants and correspond to his plan, he will support us. He will accompany us as we carry out his will and bring his plan to fulfillment. God’s will is our holiness, and when we do his will we help ourselves become saints.
Dialogue with Mary: Mary, teach me how to do God’s will as you did so that God will remain with me. I want to do his will, even though at times I know that it may seem difficult or impossible. Ask your son for the grace of my perseverance so that I too may do what the Lord asks.
Resolution: In a difficult situation, I will pray one “Hail Mary,” asking Mary for help in being faithful.
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC